A governmental unit (defined by state law as a political subdivision of the state, including a municipality or county, or any other governmental agency whose authority is derived from the laws or constitution of Idaho) may not bring suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller for recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the lawful design, manufacture, marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.1
However, a governmental unit on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit may bring a suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller if the suit is approved in advance by the legislature by adoption of a concurrent resolution or by enactment of a statute.2 In addition, the state attorney general may bring a suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or seller on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit.3
A governmental unit may bring an action against a firearms manufacturer, trade association or seller for recovery of damages for:
- Breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by a governmental unit;
- Damage or harm to property owned or leased by the governmental unit caused by a defective firearm or ammunition; or
- Injunctive relief to enforce a valid ordinance, statute or rule.4
State law provides that in a products liability action, no firearm or ammunition shall be deemed defective in design on the basis that the benefits of the product do not outweigh the risk of injury posed by its potential to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged.5
The Idaho Legislature has also declared that, in product liability actions, the potential of a firearm or ammunition to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged does not make the product defective in design.6 Furthermore, the legislature deems that injuries or damages resulting from the discharge of a firearm or ammunition are not proximately caused by the potential of a firearm or ammunition to cause serious injury, damage, or death, but are proximately caused by the actual discharge of the product.7
Nevertheless, Idaho law does not foreclose a products liability cause of action based upon the improper selection of design alternatives.8
For information about limitations on the liability of sport shooting ranges, see Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Idaho.
For detailed information about government and private party lawsuits against the gun industry, the status of litigation involving gun industry immunity statutes in various states, or pending gun industry immunity legislation, visit the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Gun Industry Immunity page.
See our Immunity Statutes / Manufacturer Litigation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.